Projecting a growing budget deficit in its refuse-collection service, Lower Merion's government is preparing to raise rates 9 percent.
The measure will be the subject of an Oct. 17 public hearing and subsequent vote, the Board of Commissioners decided at Wednesday night's meeting. A minimum majority, six of 10 members present, voted to advance the matter to the public hearing.
Chief financial officer Dean Dortone said the township looks to lose $200,000 this year on garbage and recycling collection, with $6.5 million in revenue and $6.7 million in expenses. Without a rate hike, Dortone said, the estimates for 2013 are $6.6 million in revenue and $6.9 million in expenses, which would deplete reserves. (The full slideshow Dortone presented Wednesday night is attached to this article.)
The township collects garbage weekly and recyclables semi-weekly.
The refuse service has since 2010 been expected to pay for itself, and part of its revenue comes from reselling recycled paper. However, that practice has become less lucrative this year—$75 a ton is the going rate, Dortone said, down from $105 in 2011.
On the other side of the ledger, the cost of disposing of commingled recyclables has skyrocketed, Dortone said.
A 9 percent hike means households with one container would pay $277 for the year, up from $254.
Board President Liz Rogan suggested officials start earlier next year in assessing what the rate should be for 2014.
What do you think of the proposed trash-collection rate hike? Do you plan to attend the public hearing in October? Tell us in the comments section below.